Workers of the world, this could be the research you have been waiting for. A new study has shown that you can smoke and drink as much as you like, and your boss won’t have cause to complain, even if your doctor might.

Behaviours you can get away with (provided they don’t stop you sleeping for at least seven hours)

  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Severe obesity

Factors that damage your (short-term) productivity at work

  • Sleeping six hours or less a night
  • Financial worries
  • Back or muscle pain
  • Being bullied
  • Facing unrealistically tight deadlines

Because provided you follow the boozing and smoking with at least seven hours sleep a night, your productivity won’t drop.

The study of 21,000 employees by Cambridge University and research organisation Rand Europe found those who slept six hours a night or less were less productive than those resting for seven or eight hours.

Other factors affecting absenteeism or presenteeism (being at work, but not working effectively) included financial anxieties, bullying and unrealistic deadlines. But there was no correlation between workers’ drinking and smoking and their work productivity.

“It was something we discussed at length when going through the data and we were quite surprised,” said Shaun Subel, the director of strategy at Vitality Health, the health and life insurance company that commissioned the research. However he said the research looked only at short-term productivity effects.

“If you wanted your workers productive in the long-term, you might wish to stop them developing the health problems that are associated with smoking and excessive drinking."

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